New owner incoming, Chelsea into FA Cup final with Liverpool
LONDON (AP) — Complete the sale of Chelsea inside four weeks and the new ownership will have an FA Cup final against Liverpool to attend.
Who will be representing the club in the royal box at Wembley Stadium on May 14 is still to be determined.
As the three remaining bidders wait to discover if they are chosen to buy out sanctioned Russian owner Roman Abramovich, the west London club beat Crystal Palace 2-0 in the semifinals of world soccer’s oldest competition on Sunday.
Goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount ensured the eight-time FA Cup winners will be back at Wembley on May 14 to face Liverpool which beat them at the national stadium on penalties in the League Cup final in February.
“Now it’s time to get our payback,” Mount said.
Before then it could take 3 billion pounds ($4 billion) to gain control of Chelsea once the enforced sale goes through.
The ownership contenders are, in part, being assessed on how much they will have to invest throughout the club, including player recruitment. The victory over Patrick Vieira’s Palace was produced by goals from graduates of the Chelsea academy that benefited from Abramovich’s lavish spending.
Such is the challenge to break into the first team, both had to gain playing experience on loan elsewhere, including Loftus-Cheek at London rival Palace.
The 26-year-old midfielder’s career was also stalled by rupturing his Achilles tendon in May 2019 and he hadn’t scored for the club since that month until breaking the deadlock against Palace in the 65th minute.
“It’s been a tough road, injuries and going on loan to find my form again,” Loftus Cheek said. “I always believed in myself and I always wanted to play for Chelsea.
“The reason I’m still here is my mentality. I still believe in myself.”
It was Tyrick Mitchell being dispossessed that created the opening for Chelsea which ended with Kai Havertz’s attempted pass deflecting off Marc Guehi to the edge of the penalty area where Loftus-Cheek struck into the top corner.
Thomas Tuchel is now encouraging Loftus-Cheek to make such decisive contributions more often.
“He is the opposite of overconfidence,” the Chelsea manager said. “We need to install this confidence into his body and his game. This is the next step for him to feel the influence he can have.”
Mount’s goal in the 76th minute came after playing a one-two with Timo Werner before having the time and space to shoot past Jack Butland.
A week that featured a Champions League quarterfinal elimination at Real Madrid ended on a high for Chelsea reaching a sixth final in a year under Tuchel — with the FIFA Club World Cup, European Cup and UEFA Super Cup lifted. Chelsea lost the 2021 FA Cup final to Leicester.
“It was challenging for us to keep that focus and discipline because you know our schedule — a very demanding schedule,” Tuchel said. “This is where the credit goes to my team.”
There was double semifinal success for Chelsea on Sunday. The Women’s FA Cup holders beat Arsenal 2-0 on Sunday to set up a final meeting with Manchester City at Wembley on May 15 — the day after the men’s showpiece in the same venue.
By then, Chelsea could have retained its Women’s Super League title. The men’s team only, realistically, has third place to keep hold of in the Premier League, with Manchester City and Liverpool vying for the trophy.
There were two Premier League games on Sunday impacting the fight to avoid relegation.
Newcastle looks sure to survive after Bruno Guimarães completed a comeback by scoring his second goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time to clinch a 2-1 win over Leicester. The northeast side moved 12 points clear of the drop zone with six games remaining, with the resurgence aided by the new Saudi ownership signing Guimarães in the January transfer window.
Burnley’s first game since the firing of Sean Dyche on Friday ended in a 1-1 draw at West Ham. Burnley moved three points behind Everton, which is in 17th place and just out of the relegation zone with a game in hand.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.